Mussoorie…………. The Crowning Glory
Mussoorie earned the sobriquet ‘Queen of hill station’ during the British Raj. Chanced upon by a British army officer Captain Young in 1827, this tiny wooded inhabitation fast turned into a Victorian resort, with its central Mall, a library and an Anglican Church. Though the town has grown far beyond its colonial past, with posh hotels and guesthouse thronging the ridge, some parts still retain the old-world charm of a quiet country resort.
The name Mussoorie is often attributed to a derivation of 'mansoor', a shrub which is indigenous to the area. The town is in fact often referred to as 'Mansoori' by most Indians.
Located on the Garhwali Hills, the hill resort juts out like a little paradise from a hilltop. The place seems like a unique mosaic of antiquity, mysticism and various hues. With a picturesque backdrop and bracing environs, the place is home to numerous tourists.
The Mall Road is one of the most crowded places of Mussoorie. The structure of the road takes you back to the colonial period of Britishers. There are numerous restaurants, hotels and shops on this road. The Methodist church is situated on the Mall and is around 100 years old. We had our hotel on the mall Road, facing towards the Doon valley. One of the outstanding views is of the Doon valley, during the night, watching from Mussoorie. We relished the ‘diamond necklace’ view from our room only.
At first, we went to the extreme point of the other side of the town- Dhanolti.
Dhanolti is a tiny little hamlet located about 28 kilometres from Mussoorie along the Tehri Road, at the altitude of about 8,000 feet. Positioned to the east of Landour, this is a quiescent forest area which is converted into two Eco Parks by the State Government, "Amber" and "Dhara" about 200 m apart. It has been developed recently by the Forest Department of Uttarakhand with the help of local youth. Mussoorie Forest Department is running Eco-huts for the tourists come to enjoy serene landscapes of Dhanaulti. These are built by green technology and are Eco-friendly. Dhanaulti is located amidst thick virgin forests of deodar, rhododendron and oak.
Owing to its exuberant greenery and verdant surroundings studded with oak, deodar and conifer trees, Dhanolti is regarded to be an ideal getaway for nature lovers as well as peace seekers. Dhanolti also furnishes as one of the inaugurating points of trekking, forest trails and jungle expeditions into the Tehri Garhwali regions. Srinagar is only 120 kms from there.
This area is also a rich fruit belt with lush orchards of Apple, Apricots, Walnut, Chesnutt, and Plums all around the Mussoorie Chamba road. We bought some fresh juices, from Rhododendron, litchis and Malta made by the locals.
It has an excellent climate round the year. The climate also supports the rich vegetables and fruit belt of the area. Dhanolti has round the year average temperature of 25 C max and 10 C min. In winters it snows up to 4 feet at Dhanolti, with sub zero temperatures. We enjoyed the temperature of 12 C there.
Moreover, the place also holds a remarkable religious significance due to the well known Surkanda Devi Temple perched at the altitude of about 10,000 feet. Surkanda Devi temple is one of the most important Goddess temples of the Garhwal region. It is located 8km from Dhanaulti. The deity of Surkanda Devi is Goddess Sati – Wife of Lord Shiva.The temple premises are arrayed by a number of red, orange and yellow flags put up by the devotees. These flags are visible from distant places as well. Even though Dhanolti is accessible by car, the temple of Goddess Surkanda is reachable only by foot.
The way from Mussoorie to Dhanolti is mind blowing with panorama beauty. We were often and often covered by the clouds and were playing with the cloudlets. The pleasant weather, wooded slopes, invigorating vies of the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas adds peace and tranquility for the tourists visiting Dhanaulti.
Founded in 1854, Woodstock School is located in the first range of the Indian Himalaya at an average altitude of around 7,000' (2,100m). Our extensive campus lies within a protected forest area near the hill-station of Mussoorie The building has a magnificent round shape of old medieval castle type and is situated amidst of woods. The tutors stay in the buildings in the hills, made of stone, of old English architecture. The students are only allowed to leave their hostel premise once a year. Wood Stock has a huge property of acres and acres, filled up with various rich trees.
Next, we visited the Lal Tibba. The view from Lal Tibba, the highest point in Mussoorie, is spectacular to say the least. Snow-capped mountains and lush forests can be viewed from the tall tower situated at the edge of the cliff, through a telescope. Badrinath, Kedarnath and Banderpunch are some of the top sites to spot from there. Situated four kms uphill from the Mall—in perfectly pristine peacefulness—lays Landour. This is a cantonment area, and hence, there is no unchecked construction, soiling the landscape’s tranquil traits. If ‘Mussoorie’ is the ‘queen of the hills’, the ‘Landour’ is the ‘princess’.
There lies an old church too in the Lal Tibba.
We enjoyed delicious Aloo paratha, double- omlette, veg fry and
Next, we came down to Kempty Falls, via old Mussoorie.
It is the biggest water fall here. Kempty is located about 15 kms away from the main town towards Yamunotri. Dehradun Road is a widely sought after and a must visit tourist attraction of this hill resort. Perched at the altitude of over 4500 feet, Kempty Falls is a 40 feet tall waterfall set up against the spectacular backdrop of abundant natural pulchritude. The alluring charm of this vicinity captivated the heart of a British official named John Mekinan who developed this place as a leading tourist destination in the year 1835. The name ‘Kempty’ finds it origin from the term ‘camp – tea’, the locus where British chiefs used to arrange tea parties during the British Era. Kempty Falls is the largest of the five waterfalls around Mussoorie that drops down multiple rocky formations before ultimately entering the plains. If you climb few steps down the flow of Kempty Falls, you will come across a beautiful pond embroidered with verdant greenery. The waters of Kempty Falls finally find way to Yamunotri. A number of shops set up near the Kempty Falls provide you shorts and towels on rent.
Lake Mist is located 5 km before Kempty falls and 10kms from Mussoorie. Lake Mist is a newly developed scenic spot with good accommodation and restaurant facilities available. You can also enjoy boating on this lake.
From there, we went to the Santura Devi Temple of Santoshi Maa. It’s a wonderful white marble temple, situated on a hill top. To reach there, you need to trek for a while. Coconut and puffed rice were given as ‘prasads.’
Nag Devta Templee: It is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, situated on Cart Mackenjee road. It is about 6km from Mussoorie on way to Dehradun. The temple is well accessible with motor able roads. This place affords enchanting views of Mussoorie and Doon valley.
Jwalaji Temple is also known as Benog Hill. It is situated 9kms west of Mussoorie at an elevation of 2,104mts above sea level. It is situated on the top of the Benog Hill and looks like a crowned hill. It is surrounded by thick forest having an old idol of Goddess Durga offers a marvelous view of Yamuna Valley.
For a bird’s eye view of Mussoorie, Doon Valley, Bunderpunch, Srikantha, Pithwara and Gangotri, head here; Gun Hill Point is the second highest peak in Mussoorie (2,122 mts). Curiously, this site was named after the professed gun that mounted on its summit—in the pre-independence days—which was fired to herald mid-day, at 12 noon; so locals could correct their watches. It is accessible by a 400 meter ropeway ride from the Mall Road to Gun Hill about 75 INR per head. From the top of the Gun Hill you can perceive the magnificent views of surrounding landscapes and other snow crowned Himalayan Ranges. A number of viewing points have been set up atop the Gun Hill from where tourists enjoy clarion views of Himalayan Ranges through telescopes. Numerous snack outlets as well as curio sellers stationed here add to the tourism appeal of the place. Moreover, you can also click yourself a picture wearing the traditional red velvet Kumaoni costume here.
Then via Library Road, we passed by the Camel’s back Road. This place gets its name from the life-sized rock resembling a camel's back; perfect for a pleasant walk or a pony ride.
Then we took a turn towards some outstanding places through the forest. The road was cliffy and so steep; the car has always in the 1st gear to climb up. We reached ‘Haatipaon’, a greenery meadow, perfect for the picnics. Clouds were moving around us. The place is wonderful with nature’s love and care.
There was road bi furcated there. One , in the down way, in a non –motor able road towards the house of Sir George Everest, and the other to the again steep one , towards Cloud End.
Located six kms outside Mussoorie, this site is the house and laboratory of the first Surveyor General of India, Sir George Everest—yes, world’s highest peak Mount Everest is named after him. The house is situated in a picturesque location from where you can catch the panoramic view of Doon Valley on one side and view of Yamuna Valley and snow bound Himalayan ranges on the other. The place is also known as the Park Estate. It was the laboratory of the first surveyor general in India, Sir George Everest. Mount Everest, the highest peak of the world is named after him.
Situated 8kms from library, Cloud End is at the extreme west of Mussoorie hill. From Library end of the Mall, in Mussoorie, it is seven kilometers away, four of which is metalloid road up to Haatipaon via Waverley Convent School. The last four kilometers are an uphill cemented forest road. The bungalow of Cloud End was built in 1838 by a British Major Swetenham. Cloud End was one of the first four buildings of Mussoorie and now it has been converted into a hotel called Clouds End. The place provides peaceful and calm environment because of its verdant surroundings. The resort offers a panoramic view of snow capped of colossal Himalayan range, and sacred Yamuna River. The spot is ideal for foreigners and honeymooners.
It was month of July, at the top of the hill, almost all the time we felt walking into the cloud. The property is nestled away behind mountains & hills, beyond meandering roads & clusters of trees. It’s not a very fancy resort however very comfy & cozy. They have an amazing view of the valley & a breathtaking view. This is a very old property build by British. There is a small museum in the resort, where many snaps of old Mussoorie can be seen, various periodicals and CDs are also kept there for the visitor’s. The hundreds of years old furniture with the hunted deer’s and tiger’s head, skin had added a mystic touch to it. The wonderful panoramic view of the 250 kms long snow capped Himalayan ranges was seen from the balcony.
Before the tour ended, drive bhai Niraj presented us a surprise gift. He took us to a place, which was not included in the package. It was the ruins of a dilapidated estate, the Estate of Radha bhavan Estate. We had to trek 1 km or so to reach there. The spot was wonderful. We could visualize the entire city from the top of the hillock.
The next day, at early dawn, we left Mussoorie for Doon, amidst of thunderbolts, storm and rain. Experiencing the shower and fog to that extent was also another experience in hill. Memories of Mussoorie will be always mesmerizing.
The nearest airport to reach Mussoorie is the Jolly Grant Airport, located 24 km from Dehradun.
There are numerous hotels at different costs. But facing to the Doon valley hotel is the most demanding.
There are numerous restaurants, both veg and non veg to meet up one’s demand. Indian, Chinese and continental—all are available in the mall road.
The main shopping areas in Mussoorie are the Library, Kulri Bazaar and Landor
Bazaar that sell curios, ethnic jewellery, as well as antiques. Beyond Kulri
Bazaar a road goes 5 kms up to the old cantonment area of Landor. Shops in the
market sell Raj memorabilia, silver jewellery and books. You can pick up
beautifully handcrafted walking sticks among other things from shops on the
One must carry torch, some light woolen clothes for winter, precautions for monsoon and camera is a must for this place to capture the beauty here. Do not forget to take some medicines too.
During the monsoon season months of June through September rains come quickly and heavily, particularly in the afternoon. Adequate footwear and an umbrella are advisable.
ATM facility is abundant in the town for most of the banking sectors.
Connections to nearly all Networks are enjoyed.
As the sun sets in the early evening by 7.30 pm at summer- monsoon time, people enjoy their walks and all shops are opened till 11pm.Its absolutely safe to walk in the mall Road till that time too.